“How To Land Your Kid in Therapy”

Jeremy Sharp, PhD child development/parenting, relationships Leave a Comment

Hello, everyone. It’s been quite a while since the last post, and I have missed writing. The practice has been busy over the last few months, we’ve taken a few trips, and general summer craziness has kept me occupied with other activities. Thankfully my brother reminded me, via my own blog post no less, that something is better than nothing. So here I am.

Some of you may have seen this recent Atlantic article from which I get my post title. The article is definitely worth a read; as per usual, I’ll just hit the highlights here, of which there are many.

Reading this article sparked a lot of thought from many perspectives. The author, a psychotherapist, mainly deals with the idea that there is such a thing as “too perfect” parenting. Parenting where kids never get to struggle or solve problems on their own, doubt their abilities, or endure hardship because mom and dad hover closely enough that they “protect” the child from these things. The author describes several clients who seemingly have no problems to speak of besides a general sense of discontent and perhaps a lowered self-esteem. As I read the article, I thought of my own parents and childhood, my role as a therapist with similar clients, and my own parenting strategy for our soon-to-arrive first child.

I can imagine it being very difficult for a parent to see a child struggle. Just thinking about our little baby boy two years (or ten years) down the road, crying over this or that and looking to me to help, tears me up. How could I not help whenever possible? On the other hand, much has been said about “Helicopter Parents” and the downfalls thereof. If a kid never learns how to deal with adversity and land on two feet after a fall, what will he or she do later in life when mom and dad aren’t there to comfort or provide a bail out?

I certainly don’t know the answer here, but I’d be interested to hear others’ thoughts. Parents, children, therapists – what do you think?

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